A collection of musings, articles and news about romance fiction.

Series or Stand Alone, with Cathy Perkins

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you today, Shannon!

I have a question for you: are you a series woman or a stand-alone fan?

While I’ve been told I’m not exactly the most discriminating reader, I love both. I fall in love with a book for its characters – and when I love characters, I want to spend time with them. Lots of time. I love watching a character grow and develop. In my favorite series, the author weaves together long-running plot threads and character arcs to produce a truly satisfying conclusion – one that completes the series or trilogy.

A series can have dangers that a stand-alone might not face. As a reader, it’s fine for me to love characters without reservation. But authors have to maintain enough distance to step back and consider the book’s structure, independent of the characters. Otherwise, you can write the same book over and over without a new conflict. The book’s pacing may slow because even well-loved characters need to advance the plot in their scenes. Sometimes it’s time to move on and create a new world or new protagonists.

When it comes to my writing, I’ve had series books – or at least related, spin-offs – on my mind. The Professor, a suspense with romance, released from Carina Press earlier this year, and readers tell me they want more. While I’m not sure I want to create a series for Mick and Meg, there are a few secondary characters interesting enough to make me look at them twice. For the first time, I’m writing a novella featuring one of these characters. I’ll have to visit again when it’s closer to release.

So what about you? Series or stand-alone? Any reasons or favorite series/spin-off?

If you’d like to contact Cathy Perkins directly (and she loves hearing from readers!), you can find her here:




The Professor can be found at amazon   http://amzn.to/tm7uf6 and B&N  http://bit.ly/rQKCHp , as well as most e-retail stores!


10 responses

  1. There’s nothing like a good mystery series. Knowing what you’ll get when you pick up a book–and spending more time with favourite characters–is very attractive. A good stand alone is great too. But I have a soft spot for mystery series.

    July 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

    • Cathy Perkins

      I love mystery series, too. There’s something about getting to know the characters, the locations and often the ensemble cast. I don’t think it works as well with a romance although Diane Gabaldon has how many books in the Outlander series?

      July 11, 2012 at 1:00 pm

  2. I enjoy both but I will admit when I fall in love with a standalone book I secretly hope it’ll turn into a series!

    July 11, 2012 at 10:14 am

  3. Cathy Perkins

    There are definitely books that I hate to see end and I know it’s a keeper when I’m still thinking about the characters or the premise days later. 🙂

    July 11, 2012 at 1:03 pm

  4. I love writing and reading mystery series. If I find great characters in a book, I want them to return again and again. It’s like meeting up with old friends.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    • Cathy Perkins

      I agree! It’s fun to pick up the next book in the series and wonder what these characters are up to in this book

      July 12, 2012 at 12:13 am

  5. I love a series, but I like them to be stand-alones within a series – if that makes any sense! It must be something to do with my gnat-like attention span – I love catching up with characters from one book to another, but sometimes find it difficult to follow a never-ending arc… but that’s just me! I particularly love a paranormal series, eg; Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling series, or Stephanie Laurens’ Cynster novels… and many, many more!
    What a great discussion topic, Cathy!

    July 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    • Cathy Perkins

      You just reminded me of another peril in writing a series! I’ve read a couple (and yes, I actually finished them) where the first half felt like a rehash of Book 1. (I call it the Second in the Series Syndrome). Each book has to stand on its own. The best ones (IMHO) throw in a snippet of the earlier stories just like any other backstory.

      July 12, 2012 at 12:16 am

  6. I love series’, but after a time, I usually tire of them if they are particularly “long running.” I do love short ones, though–two or three stories.

    July 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    • Cathy Perkins

      It’s rare that I’ll sit down and read a series all the way straight through.

      Partly of course, there’s a time constraint; the rest is exactly what you said – I can get tired of the characters or the premise if it runs too long.

      I wonder if part of it is the different approach with a planned trilogy? The overall arc is thought out on the front end so there’s less duplication? Maybe a second book pulls the main characters through a new conflict but we get to revisit and see ‘what happened next’

      Of course, I can always come back to a favorite series later 🙂

      July 12, 2012 at 12:26 am

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